Keeping your pet healthy is important to us.
We offer a wide range of services including medical, diagnostic, surgical, and preventive health care needs for your pet so they live a longer, healthier, happier life.
Wellness and Vaccination Programs
One of the best things you can do for your pet is to keep him or her healthy. And one of the easiest and least expensive ways to do that is by bringing in your pet for regular exams and vaccinations. Dogs and cats (and other pets) age far faster than people, so significant changes in your pet’s health can happen in a short time. Wellness programs allow us to diagnose diseases and conditions
We recommend that healthy adult dogs and cats visit us once a year. Puppies, kittens, senior pets, and pets with health issues or illnesses need more frequent checkups. We’ll work with you to create an individualized wellness program, including a vaccination and prevention protocol customized specifically to your pet. Call us today to schedule your pet’s wellness exam.
X-rays provide valuable information about a pet’s bones, gastrointestinal tract (stomach, intestines, colon), respiratory tract (lungs), heart, and genitourinary system (bladder, prostate). We use radiology alone or in conjunction with other diagnostic tools. Interpretation of radiographs requires great skill on the part of the veterinarian.
We are proud to offer digital radiology (x-rays that are captured digitally rather than on film). This state-of-the-art technology allows us to provide you with a quicker diagnosis for your pet. Plus, it uses less radiation than traditional x-rays.
To avoid a blurry image, pets need to remain completely still while an x-ray is taken. In some cases, we may need to sedate your pet or use short-acting general anesthesia.
This minimally invasive procedure allows a veterinarian to see inside a pet’s body and, when necessary, take biopsies (tissue samples) without having to perform surgery. Endoscopy is commonly used to examine the inside of the ears, nose, esophagus, colon, bladder, stomach, and other internal organs. Endoscopy can also be used to assist with minimally invasive surgeries and is particularly valuable in retrieving swallowed items.
To perform this procedure, the veterinarian inserts the endoscope (a long tube with a camera at one end) into the area to be examined. Incisions are sometimes required; however, the incisions used for endoscopic procedures are considerably smaller than those used in traditional surgery. This means a much less painful and quicker recovery for your pet.
Endoscopy does require that your pet is placed under anesthesia. As with all such procedures, we follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure his or her safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.
If not treated immediately (within hours to days), glaucoma can cause permanent vision loss or even blindness. Pets that have suffered eye injuries should have this test performed. In addition, we recommend that breeds that are prone to developing glaucoma come in for regular measurements so we can monitor eye pressure and begin treatment before any problem becomes irreversible. Please call us to discuss whether your pet may be at higher risk for glaucoma.
Call us right away if you notice any of the following problems in either or both of your pet’s eyes: dilated (enlarged) pupils, clouding of the cornea (the normally clear outer layer of the eye), red or bloodshot eyes, one eye protruding or appearing larger than the other, squinting, or tearing. Because glaucoma is painful, your pet may react by rubbing or pawing at the eyes or rubbing his or her head against the floor or furniture more than normal.
Identifying endocrine problems as early as possible is important in dogs and cats. These serious, potentially life-threatening conditions are much more manageable when caught early, allowing us to begin proper treatment.
The endocrine system is made up of a group of tissues (mostly glands) that release hormones into the bloodstream. These hormones regulate metabolism, growth, development, and reproduction and are dispersed to different areas of the body, depending on the hormone’s function. When a hormonal balance is disturbed (by a tumor or autoimmune disease, for instance), an endocrine disorder can develop. “Hyper” refers to an excess of hormone, and “hypo” refers to a deficiency in a hormone. Treatment varies depending on the disease.
There are several common endocrine disorders found in dogs and cats:
- Diabetes mellitus is caused by a deficiency in or resistance to the hormone insulin.
- Hypothyroidism, which is often diagnosed in dogs, indicates that the animal has low levels of thyroid hormone.
- Hyperthyroidism, which frequently affects cats, indicates that the animal has high levels of thyroid hormones.
- Addison’s disease (hypoadrenocorticism) and Cushing’s disease (hyperadrenocorticism) can also affect both species, although Cushing’s disease is rare in cats.
Spaying and Neutering
Spaying your pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents female animals from becoming pregnant and reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life. Spaying will not change your pet’s personality.
By spaying your female pet, you’re protecting her against potentially deadly diseases, including bacterial infections, reproductive tract diseases, and several types of cancer. You also won’t have to worry about her going into heat. This means avoiding the mess that often accompanies the heat cycle in female dogs and the pacing and crying that happens with female cats. In addition, spaying your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.
Spaying, which involves removing the ovaries and uterus, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under anesthesia. We follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure her safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.
Neutering your pet has many benefits. The procedure, which prevents male animals from reproducing, can help your dog or cat live a longer, healthier life. Neutering will not change your pet’s personality.
By neutering your pet, you’re reducing or eliminating his risk for prostate and testicular cancer, as well as sexually transmitted diseases. Neutering will also reduce or eliminate undesirable and embarrassing behavior, including roaming, fighting, humping, and spraying. In addition, neutering your pet will help control the dog and cat overpopulation problem, keeping more animals out of shelters.
Neutering, which involves removing the testicles, is a surgical procedure and does need to be performed with the pet under anesthesia. We follow strict protocols and continually monitor your pet’s vital signs to help ensure his safety. Please see the descriptions under Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring for more information on what we do to keep your pet safe.
We perform many types of orthopedic (bone) surgeries in our clinic. Because we want to ensure that our patients receive the best possible outcome, we occasionally refer them to board-certified orthopedic surgeons to perform back surgery and other very complex surgeries.
Leg fractures are the most common orthopedic problem presented at our clinic and usually result from a mishap with an automobile. They can be treated in a variety of ways depending on the location and type of fracture. We can apply a cast to treat certain fractures; however, many fractures will require surgical intervention:
- “Pinning” stabilizes the fracture by inserting a long stainless steel rod into the middle of the bone across the fractured area.
- “Plating” involves attaching a flat stainless steel plate to the bone using screws on either side of the fracture.
- “External fixation” stabilizes fractures using a series of pins on the outside of the leg that pass through the skin and into the bone on either side of the fracture.
We also perform a lot of orthopedic surgeries related to hip dysplasia and disc disease. Please contact us if you have any questions about these procedures or if you think your pet might benefit from them.
Anesthesia and Patient Monitoring
We monitor our patients closely to keep them as safe as possible during procedures that require general anesthesia. A veterinary technician will continually assess your pet’s heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, oxygen saturation, ECG, expiratory CO2, and other vital signs to help prevent any anesthetic risk.
Please feel free to ask us about our patient monitoring protocol or any concerns you might have about your pet’s procedure. We’d be happy to discuss these matters in more detail.
For some procedures, your pet will need to be administered general anesthesia so that he or she will be unconscious and not feel pain. Many pet owners worry about their pets being administered general anesthesia. We can assure you that modern anesthesia is generally quite safe; to further lower any risk, we perform a physical examination and run blood work ahead of time to catch any underlying health issues. In addition, we follow a specific anesthetic protocol, including monitoring vital signs during the procedure, to ensure the safety of our patients.
We begin most general anesthetic procedures by administering a sedative to help the pet relax and decrease any anxiety and pain. We then administer an intravenous drug to provide complete anesthesia and place a breathing tube into the patient’s trachea (windpipe). To maintain the state of unconsciousness, we deliver a gas anesthetic in combination with oxygen through the breathing tube.
If your pet is having a minor surgical or diagnostic procedure performed, we sometimes use a local anesthetic to help control pain. For example, when we perform a biopsy (in which a small portion of tissue is surgically removed so it can be examined), we often use a local anesthetic. Local anesthetics cause a loss of sensation in the area where the procedure is being performed. We sometimes use a sedative and/or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety medication) in combination with the local anesthetic to keep pets calm during a procedure.
Health Screening Tests
Renal dysplasia is a disorder in which the kidneys do not develop normally. It most commonly affects Shih Tzus, Lhasa apsos, and soft-coated wheaten terriers. Dogs usually become clinically ill before one year of age.
Unfortunately, this genetic disease has no cure; many affected dogs will develop kidney failure. Management options are extremely limited and generally expensive. Although some dogs are only carriers of this disorder and have normal kidney function, they can still pass the trait onto their offspring.
If you’re a breeder, testing for renal dysplasia can significantly reduce your chances of breeding this inherited problem in your dogs. Please call us to schedule this test.
Canine hip dysplasia (abnormal development of the hip joint) begins when the hip joint in a young dog becomes loose or unstable. If left undiagnosed and untreated, this instability causes abnormal wear of the hip cartilage and ultimately progresses to osteoarthritis or degenerative joint disease. Signs of this condition are
Hip dysplasia most commonly affects large- and giant-breed dogs; however, smaller dogs can also be affected. Although genetics often play a role in this disorder, young dogs that grow or gain weight too quickly or get too much high-impact exercise are also at risk. Being overweight can aggravate hip dysplasia.
We can help prevent or slow this condition by monitoring food intake and ensuring that your dog gets proper exercise as he or she ages. We can also screen your dog for hip dysplasia. The earlier we can diagnose hip dysplasia, the better the possible outcome for your dog.
OFA (Orthopedic Foundation for Animals) Certification:
We can x-ray your dog’s hips for hip dysplasia at 2 years of age. We will forward these radiographs to the OFA, where board-certified radiologists will evaluate and grade your dog’s hips for OFA certification. Correct positioning of your dog is essential for proper radiographic evaluation, so a general anesthetic is required to make the procedure less stressful for him or her.
Flea and Tick Preventions
Fleas can cause problems for pets ranging from minor to life-threatening. Not only can these parasites cause severe itching, irritation, and allergies, but they can also transmit tapeworms and diseases. Fleas can infest dogs, cats, ferrets, mice, and rats. And fleas don’t just stay on pets; they can bite people, too. Fortunately Frontline and Nexgard (for dogs only) work equally well on preventing fleas as it does on ticks. Important note- if your animal already has fleas it will take a minimum of 4 months treatment to get rid of them.
You don’t want these blood-sucking parasites on your pet or in your home. We can help keep them away or help you get rid of them if they’ve already found their way inside your home. Call us to find out how to eliminate and control fleas or to start your pet on a preventive today.
Ticks are becoming more and more prevalent in North America, and they’re now being found in areas where people and pets didn’t previously encounter ticks. These parasites aren’t just a nuisance; they can cause serious—and sometimes deadly—diseases, including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, babesiosis, ehrlichiosis, and tick paralysis. Contact us immediately if your pet starts coughing or has joint pain, trouble breathing, fever, weakness, or loss of appetite, weight, energy, or coordination.
The best method for keeping ticks off your pet is by keeping your dog or cat on a tick preventive. Even indoor-only pets are at risk because ticks can hitch a ride inside on your clothing or shoes. We currently recommend the use of Nexgard or Frontline, which have both proven to be safe and effective. As deer ticks live over the winter in a dormant state and can emerge whenever the temperatures are above freezing it is important to start preventative March 1 and continuing giving it monthly until a final dose December 1. Call us to get your pet protected today!
Don’t panic if you find a tick on your dog or cat, even if your pet is on a preventive. Some preventives kill ticks after they’ve come in contact with your pet. Ticks can hide easily under your pet’s fur, so as an added measure of protection, we recommend checking your pet for ticks every time your pet comes in from outside.
When they bite, mosquitoes can transmit heartworm infection. And those heartworms can wreak havoc on your dog or cat. These parasites can severely and sometimes fatally damage the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. Some pets may not show any signs of infection; in those that do, symptoms can vary widely.
In dogs, signs of heartworm disease can range from coughing, fatigue, and weight loss to difficulty breathing and a swollen abdomen (caused by fluid accumulation from heart failure). Canine heartworm infection can also lead to a life-threatening complication called “
Although often thought to not be susceptible to heartworm infection, cats can indeed get heartworms. Cats can suffer from a syndrome referred to as heartworm-associated respiratory disease (HARD); the symptoms can be subtle and may mimic those of asthma or allergic bronchitis. Signs of respiratory distress, such as rapid or difficult breathing, wheezing, and panting, are common. Other symptoms include coughing, vomiting (typically unrelated to eating), and loss of appetite or weight. Heartworm infection is more difficult to diagnose in cats than it is in dogs.
Treatment for heartworm infection is far more expensive than prevention—and it can actually kill your dog. There is no approved treatment for cats. Some cats spontaneously rid themselves of the infection; others might not survive it. And even one or two adult heartworms in a cat can cause serious problems.
Fortunately, there’s an easy way to keep your dog or cat safe: by administering monthly heartworm preventives. Most heartworm medications also protect your pet against other parasites, such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, ear mites, fleas, and ticks. We can recommend the best regimen of prevention for your pet.
Board-certified specialists, such as oncologists, ophthalmologists, and neurologists, have extensive experience and training in a particular area of veterinary medicine or surgery. Specialty clinics and university-affiliated referral centers have specialized equipment to perform procedures that are not routinely performed by general veterinary practitioners.
We make referral decisions because we want to ensure that our patients receive the highest standard of care and the best possible outcome. Be assured that when we refer a patient to another hospital, we continue to stay involved with his or her care, consulting with the treating specialist and often providing any needed follow-up care and rehabilitation.
Microchipping is a safe, permanent way to identify your pet in case he or she becomes lost. A microchip, which is a tiny device about the size and shape of a grain of rice, is placed just under the loose skin at the back of the neck. When a lost dog or cat without an ID tag is found, a veterinarian or veterinary technician will use a handheld microchip scanner to check for a chip. If the pet has one, it will transmit its ID number to the scanner via a low-frequency radio wave. The veterinary hospital or shelter then calls the chip manufacturer, retrieves the pet owner’s contact information, and calls the owner.
Even the most responsible pet owners can’t always guarantee their pet won’t get lost. A leash could break or slip out of your hand, a pet could push through a screen door or window, or a contractor or friend might accidentally leave a door or gate open.
We recommend that you use a microchip, along with a collar and ID tag, to identify your pet. An ID tag is still a reliable identification method. Pets that have tags with current contact information are more likely to not end up in shelters and tend to get home faster than those without tags. However, collars and ID tags aren’t permanent and can be removed (overnight or for grooming); pets can also lose them. With a microchip, your pet will have a much better chance of being identified and returned to you. Pets without microchips that end up in shelters may be adopted out to another family or even euthanized.
Please contact us to schedule an appointment to microchip your pet. Although we hope your pet never becomes lost, we want you to be prepared. We can also suggest a plan to have in place so if your pet does go missing, you’ll be able to act quickly.
Imagine what your mouth would feel like if you never brushed your teeth or went to the dentist. For many dogs and cats, this is a painful reality. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have dental disease by the age of 3. Dental (or periodontal) disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets.
Common signs of dental disease include:
- Yellow or brown buildup (tartar) on the teeth
- Red, swollen, or bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Excessive drooling
- Changes in eating or chewing habits
- Pawing at the face
- Broken or Loose teeth
Even if your dog or cat doesn’t have these symptoms, we recommend that you have a veterinarian evaluate your pet’s dental health at least once a year. Bacteria and food debris accumulate around the teeth and, if left unchecked, will lead to deterioration of the soft tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. This decay can result in irreversible periodontal disease, tooth loss, and possibly expensive oral surgery.
Dental disease can also affect other organs in the body: Bacteria in the mouth can get into the bloodstream and cause serious infections in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart. If these problems aren’t caught and treated quickly enough, they can result in death. A physical exam combined with appropriate laboratory work can determine if the infection in the mouth has spread.
At Burnsville Animal Clinic we have the equipment and training to perform complete dental prophylaxis, dental x-rays, and removal of problem teeth. In addition, we can refer to board-certified dental specialists for more advanced procedures such as root canals or tooth restorations.
Schedule your pet’s dental exam today! We can also help show you how to brush your pet’s teeth and recommend foods and treats that will help combat plaque and tartar buildup.
We can often diagnose a skin problem by simply examining your pet. Some dermatologic diseases or conditions do require additional diagnostic procedures to ensure a correct diagnosis. Depending on your pet’s symptoms and the results of our physical exam, we may run blood work or perform a urinalysis, skin scraping, or biopsies.
Heart disease can lead to congestive heart failure (CHF), which occurs when the heart can no longer pump blood effectively. If an animal is suffering from CHF, fluid usually accumulates in and around the lungs and sometimes in the abdomen. Congenital heart disease (animals born with a heart problem), valvular heart disease (abnormalities of the heart valves), arrhythmias (rhythm disturbances), and heartworm disease can all lead to CHF.
Call us if your pet starts breathing rapidly or coughing, loses his or her appetite, tires easily, seems weak, or has trouble exercising. We can discover many heart problems during a physical exam. Additional tests, such as an electrocardiogram (ECG), radiographs (x-rays), and ultrasounds, are usually needed to accurately identify the cause of heart disease or failure.
Our mobile ultrasound specialist may use this imaging technique in conjunction with radiography (x-rays) and other diagnostic methods to ensure a proper diagnosis. Interpretation of ultrasound images requires great skill on the part of the clinician.
The ultrasonographer applies gel to the surface of the body and then methodically moves a transducer (a small handheld tool) across the skin to record images of the area of interest. The gel helps the transducer slide more easily and create a more accurate visual image.
The transducer emits ultrasonic sound waves, which are directed into the body toward the structures to be examined. The waves create echoes of varying degrees depending on the density of the tissue and amount of fluid present. Those waves create detailed images of the structures, which are shown on a monitor and recorded for evaluation.
Ultrasound does not involve radiation, has no known side effects, and doesn’t typically require pets to be sedated or anesthetized. The hair in the area to be examined usually needs to be shaved so the ultrasonographer can obtain the best result.
Once you have made that choice, however, know that we will do everything possible to make this surgery as painless as we can and with as short of a recovery as possible.
This includes the use of a three-part analgesia program involving pre-surgical pain medication and a local nerve block as well as post-surgical pain mediation both the day of surgery as well as the following day.
We will also offer to dispense further pain medication for use at home if requested.
As with all of our surgeries declawing is done using a CO2 laser further reducing pain and bleeding.
Most cats do not require any bandaging for this procedure and can use conventional clumping litter as the incisions are closed with a liquid bandage.
Soft Tissue Surgery
Probably the most common soft tissue surgery performed on pets is the removal of masses or lumps. Most of these masses, once removed and tested, are found to be benign (nonharmful); however, occasionally they are more serious. Early removal and accurate diagnosis of a lump are necessary to improve the outcome in your pet if the mass is cancerous.
If your dog suffers from frequent ear infections, surgical intervention can reduce their occurrence by improving airflow into the ear canal.
Surgery can also help resolve several problems related to the eyes. Tearing in your pet’s eyes can mean an infection is present or may be a sign that the cornea (outer layer of the eye) has been damaged. Surgery may allow the cornea to heal faster with less scarring, improving your pet’s ability to see. In some pets, the eyelashes may actually damage the cornea. Surgical intervention improves comfort in these pets, reduces the chances of corneal scarring, and enhances the pet’s vision in the long term.
Laser surgery decreases both bleeding and pain associated with incisions allowing for better visualization, less blood loss and less painful recoveries from surgery.
We were the first clinic in the Twin Cities to incorporate routine laser surgery beginning in 1998.
Dr. Skilling has more than 15 years and 6000 procedures worth of experience with laser surgery.
We offer complete professional grooming for most breeds of dogs under 40 pounds at our clinic. Certain breeds—especially those with long hair that mats easily—may need assistance keeping themselves clean. Animals that are older or have physical disabilities may also benefit from our grooming services. If your pet is having trouble taking care of regular grooming, it can be a sign of an underlying health issue. Be sure to mention this when you schedule an appointment. You can also call us anytime to discuss your concerns.
During your pet’s grooming session, he or she will receive a bath in specially formulated shampoo tailored to his or her individual needs, as well as a haircut of your choice, a nail trim, and ear cleaning. We will also check and clean your pet’s eyes, paws, and pads. We know how to keep your pet calm and comfortable during grooming, so if a bath or nail trim is normally stressful, you can let us take care of those responsibilities so you—and your pet—can relax. Besides just making your pet look and smell good, grooming provides health benefits.
Regular brushing helps remove dead hair, mats, and dirt and distributes natural oils throughout the fur, keeping the coat clean and healthy. Trimming hair around the face, ears, paw pads, and other areas can help prevent infections and irritation and keep debris from accumulating. Trimming nails can prevent joint pain, stiffness, and chiropractic problems.
Medicated baths can help ease many skin conditions in your pet. If he or she suffers from seborrhea (a noncontagious condition that can cause
We can recommend a bath after we’ve examined your pet and diagnosed the problem. Illnesses unrelated to the skin, such as thyroid disease, can also cause skin problems in pets, so we want to be sure we’re treating the root of the problem, not just a symptom. Call us so we can help your pet feel better.
If your adult dog or cat is healthy, you may have chosen a pet food based simply on whether or not your pet will eat it. Cost may also play a factor in your decision. However, not all pet foods are equal. And feeding the right amount is not as simple as following the directions on the package (they’re just guidelines). Choosing an appropriate diet can set your pet on a path of lifelong good nutrition and help prevent many problems, including allergies, nutritional deficiencies, skin and coat disorders, and obesity.
Nutritional requirements for dogs and cats vary depending on a variety of factors, including age, breed, and health. For instance, senior pets have significantly different requirements than puppies or kittens, and animals with diabetes, kidney disease, and other health conditions can benefit from special diets. Our veterinarians can help you make informed decisions about your pet’s diet. We can counsel you on which foods are the best choices based on your pet’s needs and your financial considerations, how much to feed, and even how to decode pet food labels. We can create a nutrition plan specifically for your pet, and we’re also happy to work with owners to help their overweight pets get down to a healthy weight.
You can help prevent some forms of cancer by having your pet spayed or neutered at an early age, but most cancers cannot be prevented. This is why early detection is one of our best weapons against this disease.
Regular veterinary visits can help us keep track of what is normal for your pet, as well as detect anything suspicious. However, because we typically only see your dog or cat once or twice a year, we also rely on your knowledge of your pet to catch any potential issues early. Contact us right away if you notice any changes in your pet’s physical appearance or behavior (such as lumps or bumps, sores that don’t heal, vomiting, diarrhea, or changes in eating habits).
Have a question?
Use the form below to send us a message! A member of our team will get back to you as quickly as possible. If you need immediate assistance, please give us a call at 952-890-9696.